Schalke: Benito Raman—featured striker or complementary?

Benito Raman of Schalke (Photo by Frederic Scheidemann/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Benito Raman of Schalke (Photo by Frederic Scheidemann/Bongarts/Getty Images) /

Benito Rama teases being able to carry the striker throne at Schalke, but is he better off as a featured striker or a complementary striker?

Benito Raman‘s breakout performance against Arminia Bielefeld signaled a new, capable striker joining a frazzled attacking corps at Schalke. His speed and precision and ability to finish has been such a welcomed addition to a side that just can’t seem to find the right combination up top.

Raman added a new element to the Schalke attack that had not been prevalent prior to his arrival. There was suddenly a threat over the top that made every single through ball a threat on goal. Raman was faster than everyone else and he’s solid on the ball, which leaves it all to his finishing ability and we’ve seen enough of that to have confidence in it.

But despite that breakthrough and the promising performances that followed, Raman has since fallen off the train tracks a bit. That said, so has every other Royal Blue attacker, so it’s hard to pin too much of his struggles on him alone.

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It does, however, beg the question of if Raman should be a featured striker, or more of a complementary one, either the second in a two-striker set or coming in as a substitution.

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Raman has been, without a doubt, our best striker this year. But while he does deserve credit for that, it isn’t saying all that much. There’s not much to compare him too. So in the event that an Arkadiusz Milik does arrive in the coming transfer window, what happens to Raman?

When paired with another striker, Raman has more often than not shifted out wide, playing as a winger. Hell, sometimes when he’s the sole striker he does that anyway. Which may well answer the question easily enough—he’s already playing striker as a secondary striker, so why try to alter his natural inclination?

That’s what this whole transfer window is going to be about. Raman is unlikely to be a premier, featured striker. The goal is to provide him (and Amine Harit, and Suat Serdar, and…) with someone who he can play off of that will promote his desire to flow freely through the wings and the center of the pitch. That’s his prerogative, so let him be comfortable in it.

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In order to achieve that properly, however, we need a new featured striker to take that mantle away from Raman.